Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Treating or recycling waste batteries

Treating or recycling waste batteries

If you treat or recycle waste batteries you must have a permit or licence. You may also need approval to be an approved battery treatment operator (ABTO).

What you must do

Applying for a permit or licence

If you treat or recycle waste batteries you must have a waste management licence or registered exemption from your environmental regulator.

You must comply with the conditions in your licence or you can be fined or sent to prison.

If you treat waste batteries and your licence was issued before:

  • 20 May 2009 in Northern Ireland
  • 6 July 2009 in Scotland

you must comply with the following conditions:

  • remove all fluids and acids from the batteries
  • store waste batteries, and the materials that result from treatment, in secure, covered and impermeable areas.

These conditions have been added to your licence by law.

If your licence was issued after that date, you must comply with the conditions in your licence.

Apply to be an ABTO

You must apply to the NIEA in Northern Ireland, or SEPA in Scotland, if you want to be an ABTO in order to:

  • carry out the initial treatment or recycling of automotive or industrial batteries
  • issue batteries evidence notes for the treatment and recycling of waste portable batteries.

If you are an ABTO you must make sure that you:

  • use the best available technology to treat or recycle batteries
  • comply with all relevant health and safety, and waste management regulations
  • remove all fluids and acids from the batteries
  • store waste batteries, and the materials that result from treatment, in secure, covered and impermeable areas.

You must achieve minimum recycling levels of:

  • 65 per cent of the average weight of all lead acid batteries
  • 75 per cent of the average weight of all nickel cadmium batteries
  • 50 per cent of the average weight of other waste batteries.

Keep records of battery treatment

You must keep records of the amount in tonnes of batteries you accept for treatment or recycling. You must provide the NIEA or SEPA with details of the quantity of batteries you have dealt with and the amount you received from each battery compliance scheme.

You must provide batteries evidence notes to battery compliance scheme operators to confirm the number of tonnes of batteries you have accepted for treatment in a year. You must supply battery evidence notes before 30 April in the year following each compliance period.

In this Guideline

Businesses affected by the batteries regulations

Identifying different battery types

Substance restrictions and battery labelling

Industrial and automotive battery producers responsibilites

Portable battery producers responsibilities

Portable batteries: distributor and retailer responsibilities

How end users can recycle batteries

Treating or recycling waste batteries

Exporting waste batteries

Battery compliance scheme operators responsibilities

Batteries: Environmental legislation

Environmental News Blog

  • My Year at NetRegs, A reflection on my time as an intern with the NetRegs team at SEPA. An overview of all the activities and projects I had the opportunity to participate in during my Bright Green Environmental Placement.

  • A day with Hydrology, SEPA's hydrometry unit is responsible for around 400 gauging stations and 350 rainfall monitoring sites. River gauging stations are important as they allow river levels to be monitored so flood events can be predicted and flood warnings sent out.

NetRegs on NetRegs on youTube

View our latest videos & subscribe to our channel.

NetRegs Update Newsletter

Free monthly email newsletter with environmental updates for Northern Ireland and Scotland

Sign up for free today!

Permits

NIEA - Apply online

SEPA - Application forms